There are plenty of delightfully scary haunted library stories. But it’s one thing to read about a haunted library and quite another to be in one.
So many of the libraries I visited in my youth seemed to have some sort of … presence.
Now I’m not saying there was definitely something there.
But I’m not saying there wasn’t.
They were all in old buildings, with extraordinarily creaky floors. Pause here to note that in one of our previous houses, if you were sitting in the family room, sometimes you would hear the sound of footsteps walking slowly from one side to the other in the room above. And, no, it wasn’t squirrels on the roof, or the house settling, or our imaginations. It was distinctive. It was purposeful. It was freaky. While it never felt scary to go into that room where the footsteps occurred, it always gave me chills if I was home alone, sitting downstairs, suddenly hearing the heavy tread above.
But back to the old libraries: many of them not only had the creaky floors but also very dim rooms and, for some reason, oddly angled nooks and crannies. The shelves were so tall you couldn’t see around them. This all had an isolating and disorienting effect, especially to a kid. Often, while wandering around, I had the sense that I wasn’t alone. That perhaps someone—something?—was watching.
And college libraries can be unsettling too—especially those dark, secluded stacks. (Yes, that prompted one scene of The Semester of Our Discontent.) *shivers*
Libraries are among my favorite places in the world, so I will never stop going to them. I did not see a ghost, so I don’t know why it felt as though one might be lurking around. But I will admit that every once in a while, it became necessary to run over to the check-out counter just to be near other humans. (Wait, did I say that out loud?) I mean: to check out a book.
Any deliciously creepy libraries in your past or present?
(Note: this post originally ran October 25, 2017.)